DIXFIELD – Town meeting voters last week authorized selectmen to borrow $70,000 to buy a new Public Works truck for winter snow removal and summer projects.

However, in a preceding warrant article, voters declined to raise or appropriate money for reserve accounts, Town Manager Thomas Richmond told selectmen at Tuesday’s board meeting.

A requested $24,000 was to be combined with $72,000 already in the Public Works equipment reserve account and a $70,000 loan to buy the truck, which is estimated to cost $166,000.

Because the May 22 town meeting was continued to Tuesday, June 10, for municipal elections, Richmond said there will be a special town meeting warrant article on the ballot. It will ask voters for approval to borrow more than the $70,000 approved at town meeting. There will be no hearing.

In other business:

• Richmond told selectmen that he intends to top off the town’s diesel and regular unleaded fuel tanks prior to July 1. The town locked in its regular unleaded gas price at $2.39 a gallon last year through area school departments, but that price jumps to $4 a gallon on July 1.

Money from the general fund is used to stockpile an inventory of fuel, which is then paid for by departments as their employees use it.

• Selectman Brad Dyer asked if future town meetings could be held on Saturdays due to last week’s 8-hour marathon that began Thursday night and ended early Friday morning.

During discussion, Selectman James Desjardins suggested that if Dixfield continues to hold town meetings on weeknights, the town office should be staffed on Friday.

Several selectmen and police Chief Richard A. Pickett said they fielded angry calls from people unable to register vehicles or conduct town business before Memorial Day weekend, because the office was closed.

Richmond closed the office and gave office workers the day off because they’d put in an eight-hour day on Thursday and another eight hours conducting town meeting.

All agreed that Desjardins’ idea had merit.

• Richmond and selectmen said they were concerned about big-rig traffic using the newly paved Common Road to circumvent traffic delays due to Route 2 roadwork.

“They will tear that up in no time,” said Richmond, who will investigate how many tractor-trailers are using the go-around, before deciding whether to ban the trucks from using Common Road.

• Selectmen tasked the town manager with getting a bid to fix the sidewalk outside the municipal building, a task that Richmond said would be better solved by replacing the concrete with paving.

• Selectmen changed their next regularly scheduled board meeting from Monday, June 9, to 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, at the town office.


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